Paytm has named K. Guru Gowrappan of Alibaba Group as an additional director on its board amid an on-going shuffle at the board of directors level.
Paytm in the last two weeks has added three new board members replacing Ruchi Sanghvi, vice president operations at Dropbox; Naveen Tewari, chief executive of InMobi and Vivek Mathur of SAIF Partners.
Gowrappan is currently the global managing director of the Alibaba Group, an investor in Paytm. The moves come at a time when the Jack Ma-led Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the operator of China’s largest e-commerce marketplace, is putting in place its strategy to enter the e-commerce market in the country.
Gowrappan, who focuses on Alibaba’s products and strategy for international markets, will guide business, product and technology teams at Paytm, the company said in a statement.
“We are at an important juncture in the company’s evolution, and Guru’s strong expertise in global business and product development will guide us through executing key strategic initiatives for the company,”
said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, co-founder and chief executive officer, Paytm , in a statement.
“It’s both exciting and fulfilling to be trusted with the opportunity to mentor the incredible team at Paytm as the company moves into the next chapter of its growth,”
Gowrappan said in a statement.
Gowrappan, who is an active angel investors and advisor to some of the Indian start-ups, has over 15 years of experience in the Internet industry, according to Paytm. Prior to joining Alibaba, he served as the chief operating officer at Quixey, a mobile search engine.
One97 Communications Ltd founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, one of the 11 recipients of a payments bank licence, is aggressively strengthening its team ahead of the launch of its payment bank by October.
Paytm marketplace currently has about 130,000 merchants, and the company expects it to double by fiscal 2017.
“While having a director on the board in a company one has invested in happens all the time, Alibaba has an India play. Gowrappan is hands on with both Paytm and Alibaba and this might be a move towards bringing closer the two companies even further,”
said a senior analyst with an international consultancy firm.
Sharma had said recently that they would bring in major names so that they can make a bigger play globally in the years to come.
“We want to make Paytm the benchmark of world-class companies and be premier financial service company. The idea is dominate in India in a year or so and later take Paytm abroad. Not this year, not next year but we would go abroad and our board with their experience would help the company scale. It would also help us when we go to investors to raise money few years down the line.”